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Wellness Guide — Positive Psychology, Self-Actualization & Resilience

A Guide to the UConn Library Wellness and Self-Care Collection

What is Positive Psychology?

The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology defines positive psychology as, "the psychology of valued psychological phenomena, such as contentment and satisfaction (with the past), hope and optimism (for the future), and happiness and well-being (in the present). It focuses on positive subjective experiences, such as love and aesthetic appreciation; positive individual qualities, such as courage, interpersonal skill, perseverance, originality, and wisdom; and positive social phenomena, such as cooperation, altruism, and tolerance." It defines self-actualization as, "the motive to realize one's latent potential, understand oneself, and establish oneself as a whole person."

Girl smiling holding umbrella in front of bright yellow wall

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

Digital Library Books

What is Self-Actualization?

It is important to understand Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs if one is interested in personal growth.  Maslow's hierarchy shows us that each human first needs their physiological and safety needs to be met to experience love and belonging.  Love and a sense of belonging or connection to others is needed to build one's self esteem.  Finally, once all of these human needs are met, then it is possible for humans to try and maximize who they can become or who they will become. This process is referred to as self-actualization.  Importantly, one cannot achieve self-actualization until their basic needs for shelter, safety, love and belonging are met.  Once the essential needs are met, one gains self esteem and can then work on the process of self-actualization--the process of becoming your best self.


Pyramid illustration of Maslow's hierarchy of needs

                     Above: An Illustration of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 


Books from the catalog

This Emotional Life PBS Series

Below you will find a link to the "Rethinking Happiness" video from the PBS Series "This Emotional Life," hosted by Dan Gilbert and America Ferrera (2009).

Physical Library Books

The titles below are mainly part of the library's Leisure Reading Collection.  They may be requested for pickup or browsed on the B Level.